Presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson called on the public not to preempt the investigation involving Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Police General Dionardo Carlos over the crash of the state-owned helicopter that was supposed to pick him up from the posh Balesin resort in Quezon over the weekend.
Lacson said it is proper that the Department of the Interior and Local Government, led by Secretary Eduardo Ano, defend Carlos in the meantime since the investigation is underway.
One policeman died while the pilot and co-pilot were injured when the Airbus chopper crashed into a mountain in Real, Quezon. The PNP chief has expressed his regrets over the incident.
The Partido Reporma standard-bearer said the investigation should look into the “gray area” — the official function used as the reason to dispatch the PNP chopper to fetch the police chief.
“He said there’s an official function that he should attend, for him to request an administrative flight. That should be proven since there’s no doubt, he admitted that it’s his personal time in Balesin. But let us also say he needs to go back to Camp Crame as he has an official function. So, he asked to be fetched by a helicopter since his private flight was not available. So that’s the gray area,” explained Lacson.
Since the probe is ongoing, Lacson—the PNP chief from 1999 to 2001—said it should not be preempted.
“It’s just simple—(the helicopter) was going there and ferrying him was an official function,” said Lacson.
The three-term senator said it can be seen in the record if there’s indeed an official function that necessitated an administrative flight.
During his time as PNP chief, Lacson said he never used police resources like choppers for his personal needs. However, he said the PNP chief should explain the accident to the public.
The presidential candidate also underscored the need for the government to procure high-quality police and military equipment.
“We are allocating huge funds for the enhancement program of the PNP and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), that’s why we need to check the quality of the equipment that we procure,” he said.
“Because after all, not only the equipment, but also the lives of our policemen are at risk,” Lacson added.
The presidential candidate then vowed that his administration won’t allow using government equipment for personal affairs.
“We’ve been reiterating our stance on leadership by example. There is no substitute for it. It is second to none,” he said.
It was reported that the H-125 Airbus helicopter took off from the Manila Domestic Airport 8n Pasay City for Balesin, Quezon, where Carlos had been staying with his family.
The helicopter was later declared missing. The crash site was located past 8 a.m. The PNP said that the flight was considered an administrative mission flight.
The pilot and co-pilot, Police Lieutenant Colonels Dexter Vitug and Michael Melloria, were brought to Claro M. Recto Hospital in Infanta, Quezon, while crewman Police Patrolman Allen Noel Ona was identified as the lone fatality. The PNP grounded its four Airbus H-125 helicopters after the incident.